Connecting teachers and learners via an eLearning platform.
Pakistan’s population is young and growing, energetic and agile. Two-thirds of the population are yet to reach 30. Their ranks will swell with about 85 million more youngsters in the next 20 years.
This wave of young people brings a human bounty to a country lacking in natural resources. Yet as things stand, almost half the children eligible – nearly seven million – do not attend primary school. Seven in 10 drop out before they reach secondary school, most likely because they have had to endure such an unrewarding experience, packed together in rows in stuffy classrooms, learning by rote from a blackboard, with teachers who are poorly trained, demotivated and frequently absent.
Pakistan’s poorest regions are tough places to work – it is hard to find skilled teachers willing to work in such harsh conditions. As a result, even when children do make it to school their teachers often have little training in making complex and difficult subjects interesting and exciting.
TeleTaleem aims to change all that with a distance learning programme designed to link rural schools to teachers in urban centres. TeleTaleem operates a small fleet of vans equipped with satellite communications which link them to a studio in the capital, Islamabad, where a specialist teacher conducts a class. Each of the students in the class is equipped with a basic tablet computer loaded with TeleTaleem’s software. Students use the tablets to complete test questions as a lesson is in progress. The results of the tests can be communicated back to the teacher in Islamabad to be analysed. Students and teacher interact using a collaborative, online work space, in which the teacher in Islamabad can watch and correct the work of a student in the tribal areas near Afghanistan.
In 2012, TeleTaleem secured a $1.1 million investment from the Asian Development Bank to expand its operation to 500 centres, reaching at least 10,000 teachers and 100,000 students within five years.
Radical innovations are often bred in extreme conditions. Pakistan is already one of the most advanced places in the world for mobile phone based banking services. There is no reason why, in response to the immense challenges of teaching in the poorest parts of the country, it could not also become one of the most innovative places for mobile learning.
Image @ http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/
Last updated: 09th of May, 2014